Face and Limb Transplant

In March 2012, the University of Maryland made history when surgical teams completed the world's most comprehensive full face transplant to date on Richard Norris. The research at the foundation of that surgery was the result of more than 10 years of government funding to help University of Maryland physicians and researchers improve the lives for patients with traumatic facial injury. 

The commitment to improving lives of these patients and those with traumatic limb injuries lives on. Surgeons and scientists from the Division of Transplantation and Plastic Surgery continue to earn federal research funding to investigate the effects of bone marrow-derived stem cells in decreasing the chances of rejection after transplantation. This stem cell technique was used in the 2012 face transplant and has been published on extensively as a possible solution to increased organ/tissue acceptance and a reduced need for immunosuppression. It is also being studied for use in other types of organ transplantation, including heart.

Transplant surgeons, Drs. Stephen Bartlett and Rolf Barth, lead the research efforts behind vascularized composite allografts and continue to seek effective treatments to help patients and wounded veterans return to normal lives through the transplantation of facial and limb tissue.